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Olympic Skating Coach Banned for Life After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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  • The U.S. Center for SafeSport leveled a lifetime ban against Olympic figure skating coach Richard Callaghan on Wednesday after a former skater accused Callaghan of sexually molesting him beginning at age 14.
  • Callaghan was suspended from the Olympics in 2018 for nearly 20 years following an older allegation of sexual misconduct.
  • The allegations against Callaghan have stoked comparisons to USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and skater John Coughlin, prompting questions about how Olympic-linked organizations deal with sexual misconduct allegations.

Banned from the Olympics

The U.S. Center for Safesport banned famed Olympics figure skating coach Richard Callaghan for life on Wednesday over accusations of sexual molestation.

The organization made the decision after one of Callaghan’s former students filed a lawsuit claiming that Callaghan sexually molested him when he was 14-years-old. 

U.S. Figure Skating then followed suit and banned Callaghan from any kind of skating-related activity in the U.S.

Callaghan, 73, is most known for training skaters Tara Lipinski and Todd Eldredge. Notably, Callaghan oversaw Lipinski’s training when she won the gold medal in ladies’ singles figure skating during the 1998 Nagano Olympics. He also oversaw Eldredge’s six U.S. national championship titles, as well as a world championship title.

The allegations were brought by former skater Adam Schmidt, who is also suing U.S. Figure Skating for inaction related to previous complaints made before his alleged molestations. The lawsuit alleges Callaghan molested Schmidt multiple times between 1999 and 2001.

“Today’s announcement is a major victory for all who’ve suffered abuses by the former legend of figure skating, Mr. Callaghan,” Schmidt told ABC News. “Now he will forever be known as the predator who delivered medals to a corrupt organization who accepted them in exchange for the safety and protection of children. US Figure Skating created that culture of abuse that lasted decades and today is the first of many victories to come in reversing that. USFS is officially on notice.”

The ban comes after SafeSport suspended Callaghan from Olympic activity for nearly 20 years after former student Craig Maurizi filed a second misconduct complaint against him in January 2018.

Callaghan has denied the allegations and was first suspended in March 2018, but he will not be able to appeal the permanent ban. According to Callaghan’s attorney, he is “subject to a lifetime ban without due process.”

Previous Allegations

In 1999, Maurizi filed his first complaint against the skating coach. The allegation, filed to U.S. Figure Skating, details the nature of Maurizi’s relationship with Callaghan, dating back to 1976 when he first began taking lessons from him at the age of 13. 

Two years later, Maurizi said Callaghan began acting sexually inappropriate around him, and Maurizi said when he turned 18, Callaghan initiated a sexual relationship. That relationship allegedly continued in an on-again-off-again fashion until 1997.

“At the time, I thought the sex was consensual,” Maurizi told the New York Times in 1999. “Now, when I look back, I don’t think it was consensual. I don’t care how old a student is, whether it’s a boy or a girl, a coach should never have sex with a student. The coach is the person the athlete looks up to for leadership and to be a role model. I don’t think coaches understand the influence they can exert over students. People need to be more aware of this.”

The claims were later dismissed by U.S. Figure Skating and the Professional Skater’s Association because they had been filed more than 60 days from when the alleged abuse occurred.

Within the time-frame of Callaghan and Maurizi’s relationship, The New York Times reported at least five other sexual misconduct claims dating back to the 1980s. The claims range from inappropriate sexual comments to unwarranted sexual advances such as Callaghan exposing himself in a hotel.

“I feel finally vindicated,” Maurizi told the New York Times following Callaghan’s ban this week. “This guy’s a monster. This man has ruined the lives and careers of many people. I believe he should be punished to whatever extent is possible.”

Olympic Organizations’ Handling of Allegations

The allegations against Callaghan are the latest in a series of sexual misconduct allegations against people connected to Olympic athletes.

In 2015, USA Gymnastics broke ties with sports doctor Larry Nassar, and the following year, one of his patients filed a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse. In all, more than 250 women and one man accused Nassar of sexual abuse, many of his patients being underage at the times of their assault.

Nassar pleaded guilty in three different trials, admitting to the molestation of 10 accusers. The 56-year-old is now serving a federal conviction of 60 years and a state conviction of 40 to 175 to years. 

In December, U.S. Figure Skating issued a restriction notice to figure skater John Coughlin in relation to unspecified allegations. On January 17, U.S. Figure Skating suspended him, and the following day, he committed suicide.

Since his death, more women have stepped forward, including bronze medalist Ashley Wagner and his former skating partner Bridget Namiotka.

SafeSport later released a statement saying it had uncovered “a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long.”

This month, U.S. Figure Skating also released a statement saying the organization does not tolerate sex crimes.

“Recent news reports regarding allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct in our sport have been heartbreaking,” the statement reads. “We support all survivors, and we encourage all victims of abuse to come forward and report it to law enforcement and the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating.”

Many, however, have criticized organizations connected to the Olympics, claiming they have been slow to act in situations involving sexual abuse.

“This should have been done in the ’90s when USFS first knew,” Schmidt’s attorney John Manly told USA Today. “It’s good news but small comfort to those Callaghan hurt. Clearly this move is in response to the horrible press USFS received in response to Adam Schmidt’s filing. You shouldn’t have to file a lawsuit to protect kids from child molesters in Olympic sports.”

Manly argued that because U.S. Figure Skating did not act in 1999 when it received Maurizi’s first complaint, it enabled Callaghan to continue coaching, thus leading to Schmidt’s alleged molestations.

U.S. Figure Skating has defended itself, saying that following Maurizi’s original complaint, it examined its procedures into reporting cases of abuse and updated misconduct policy in May 2000.

See what others are saying: (NBC News) (Time) (CNN)

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Orlando Officer Fired After Arresting 6 and 8-Year-Olds

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  • A school resource officer in Orlando, Florida arrested two students in one day, an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old.
  • The youngest child had a tantrum as a result of her sleep apnea and kicked someone.
  • She and was arrested, charged with battery, and taken to a juvenile detention center but not processed.
  • Officer Dennis Turner broke department policy by arresting the two, as he needed approval from a superior to arrest minors under 12 and did not obtain it.
  • The Orlando Police Department released a statement Monday saying Turner has been fired.

Students Arrested

An Orlando officer has been fired after arresting a 6-year-old and 8-year-old at school on the same day.

The Orlando Police Department put out a statement on Monday apologizing to the children and their families.

The two students were arrested by Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy’s school Resource Officer Dennis Turner on Thursday. The 8-year-old was sent to a juvenile center on misdemeanor charges before being released to their parents. 

The 6-year-old was arrested and charged with battery. Authorities have not identified the children, but a report from WKMG identified the youngest of the two as Kaia Rolle. Rolle had been sent to the school’s office after acting out in class. While at the office, someone tried to grab her wrists and she kicked them back.

Her grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, spoke to the outlet about the incident. She said that Rolle has sleep apnea and as a result, did not get enough sleep the night before. Kirkland said that her granddaughter was handcuffed, taken in the back of a police car, fingerprinted and had a mugshot taken. She was taken to a juvenile center but was not processed. 

Kirkland claimed that when Turner learned of Rolle’s medical situation, he was not sympathetic. When she told him she had sleep apnea, she claims he responded, “Well I have sleep apnea and I don’t behave like that.” 

Story Sparks Outrage

Over the weekend, the story made national headlines and sparked outrage. Many took to Twitter to call for Turner to be fired. 

Politicians also spoke about the incident. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) said, “We need to stop criminalizing children.”

Florida State Rep. Carlos G. Smith said he was “completely speechless.”

Turner Under Investigation

Turner was fired following a reported investigation into the two arrests. It is department policy to receive approval from a superior before arresting children under the age of 12. Turner did not receive such permission.

Turner retired as an Orlando Police Officer in 2018 after serving in the department for 23 years. He is currently part of the Officer Reserve Program, which consists of retired officers. According to the Orlando Sentinel, in 2015 he was given a written reprimand for using excessive force after continuing to tase a suspect who was on the floor and not resisting. 

See what others are saying: (WKMG) (Washington Post) (TIME)

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Football Fan Raises Over $1 Million for Children’s Hospital With Viral Beer Money Sign

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  • Carson King picked up national attention when he was seen on ESPN’s “College GameDay” holding a sign that asked for beer money. 
  • The football fan was surprised when floods of donations began to pour in, and he later announced plans to donate the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 
  • Busch Beer and Venmo promised to match his donation. By Sunday, funds from King and the two companies had collectively reached over $1 million.

King on “College GameDay” 

A college football fan who held up a sign asking for beer money on television has now raised more than $1 million that he plans to donate to a children’s hospital. 

On September 14, ESPN broadcasted “College GameDay” from Ames, Iowa during the game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones. Carson King appeared in the crowd behind the sports analysts holding a sign that said “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” along with his Venmo username.

Source: Good Morning America

His phone was then swarmed with notifications from the money transferring app. King told CNN that within 30 mins he had raised $400. “I thought it would just be a joke,” King told Good Morning America on Friday. “I didn’t think anyone would actually see it.”

Source: Mix 99.9

Plans to Donate 

His sign picked up even more attention as people discussed it and shared photos of it online. After talking it over with his family, King realized he had a chance to do something special with this attention. He soon tweeted that he would be donating “all but enough for a case of Busch Light,” to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

“There’s a better purpose for it,” King said of the money in an interview with The Washington Post “The kids deserve everything they can get. If I can give it to them, I’m going to give it to them.”

Support 

When word of his plans to donate the funds spread, Busch Beer and Venmo promised to match his contribution.

People liked the cans so much that over 26,000 signed a petition asking the company to stock them in stores throughout Iowa. 

$1 Million Raised

By Sunday morning, the contributions — including Busch Beer and Venmo’s matches — had reached over $1 million. 

King plans to keep his Venmo account open for donations until the end of the month. Once collecting the total amount, he will write a check and present it to the hospital in person. King told GMA that when he donates the money, he will also go on a tour of the hospital facilities and get to meet some of the kids who will benefit from the funds. 

Stead Family Children’s Hospital responded to King’s tweet about the size of his donation, saying “We can’t think– our minds are blown by all of this!”

See what others are saying: (CNN) (Fox News) (ABC News)

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How Safe Injections Sites in the U.S. Are Fighting Back Against The Opioid Crisis & Do They Work?

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America has been hit with a historical opioid crisis. In 2018, more than 31,000 people died from opioid overdoses, which is more than any previous year recorded in American history. Healthcare professionals and public health experts are offering alternatives to the status quo treatments, which leads us to today’s topic: supervised injection facilities (SIF). 

Also known as overdose prevention sites and medically supervised injection centers, SIF’s have been proposed as a solution to combat America’s opioid problem. In these centers, no drugs are supplied to the users—they bring their own and are given clean syringes to prevent bloodborne diseases. Advocates or these sites are saying that they would stop countless fatal overdoses because there would be medical staff on site. Countries like Switzerland, Canada, and Australia have implemented versions of these facilities and so far there has not been any reported fatal overdoses at a SIF in the world. 

While cities like Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia have all proposed plans to make sites, they have been met with heavy opposition. The federal government opposed these sites because they claim it breaks federal laws and some residents in these cities are against them due to concerns over attracting more crime. In this video, we’ll be focusing on Philadelphia, as it might become the first U.S. city to legally open a supervised injection facility, along with the court case between the non-profit who is trying to establish the SIF and the federal government.

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